2020 vs 2021: What's the Difference?
Let's be upfront: the 2021 Dodge Charger might not be for everyone, but it actually does have something for everyone packed into its line-up. Are you a more practical buyer? The Charger has just the right amount of power while still being considerably fuel-efficient for a sport sedan. More of a thrill-seeker? The Charger has a wide body kit with superbly wide wheels and a top speed of over 200 mph. It all depends on which trim level you pick and how you decide to configure it. And who doesn't like having options?
The 2021 Dodge Charger adds only a few things to the pre-existing stuff from the 2020 line-up. The most exciting addition is undoubtedly the new Hellcat Redeye trim level, which has a supercharged V8 engine that produces an astounding 797 horsepower. Yes, you read that correctly - 797 hp. We can't believe that it is real either, but we're glad that it is. It is an insanely cool trim level - that is, if you can afford its hefty price tag. But it sure does make last year's 717-hp Daytona limited edition (which was to celebrate the Charger turning 50) look less powerful.
Like we said, the thing about this line-up is that it offers so many options. Between the base SXT and the new line-topping SRT Hellcat Redeye, you get a range of sporty trims: the GT, R/T, Scat Pack, and SRT Hellcat are all admirable choices in their own right. But which one will best suit your needs? Let's find out as we talk about these trims, their cabins, tech features, performances, safety and reliability ratings, and which rivals try to compete with them. Emphasis on 'try'.
What Do the Various Trim Levels Offer?
Like we mentioned above, the 2021 Dodge Charger has six trims to choose from: the SXT, GT, R/T, Scat Pack, SRT Hellcat, and the new SRT Hellcat Redeye. Selecting the one for you depends on how much power or how much fuel efficiency you want plus which features you feel you need.
Let's start by talking engines. The SXT and GT are both powered by a 3.6-L V6 that generates 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft or 300 hp and 264 lb-ft on the RWD GT and AWD, respectively. The R/T has a 5.7-L V8 that's good for 370 hp and 395 lb-ft. The Sct Pack has the 6.4-L V8 (which is also known as the 392) that produces 485 hp and 475 lb-ft. Next, the SRT Hellcat equips a 6.2-L supercharged V8 engine that gets 717 hp and 650 lb-ft. Finally, the brand-new SRT Hellcat Redeye's version of that same engine is tweaked to give it that amazing 797 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque.
Now for the features. The SXT kicks things off by offering standard 17-inch wheels, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display, smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, a steering wheel that is wrapped in leather, remote start, and power adjustable front seats.
The GT adds a sportier design with more features, such as heated side mirrors, LED foglights, a functional scoop hood, a sport-tuned suspension, an 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, an upgraded sound system, and 20-inch wheels.
On the R/T, you get 20-inch wheels as well, but they have their own special design. There is also an active exhaust.
Upping to the Scat Pack adds on its own special 20-inch wheels. Plus, you get high performance brakes, a limited-slip differential, upgraded sport seats, heating on the front seats and steering wheel, launch control, a high performance suspension, and performance drive modes.
The SRT Hellcat and the new Redeye both come with uniquely styled 20-inch wheels, flared fenders, ultra-high performance brakes, more aggressive bodywork, an adaptive suspension, heated second-row outboard seats, ventilated front seats, leather trim in the cabin, memory settings on the driver's seat, high performance tires, and a power adjustable steering wheel.
Which Trim is Right for Me?
As much as we love the new SRT Hellcat Redeye, we'd recommend going for the middle of the pack with the Scat Pack. It has a stellar performance with many upgraded mechanical specs plus plenty of creature comforts. And its price tag is still reasonable.
What Kind of Technology Does it Have?
Dodge equips its user-friendly Uconnect system on the Charger, which offers quick responses and easy-to-read graphics. You can also pair your smartphone and use your apps without hassle. The optional voice controls and navigation are superb, and they come with a 19-speaker sound system.
How Does It Perform?
It only takes the Scat Pack 4.6 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph, so you'd better believe that this is a vehicle built for speed. The brakes are excellent, feeling secure with just the right amount of pressure. Stopping from 60 mph happens in just 102 feet - a short stop indeed. The Charger charges through corners while staying planted, but it isn't always an engaging handling performance. Mid-corner bumps will rumble through the cabin, and the accelerator is more sensitive than you might expect at first touch.
Is It Safe and Reliable?
NHTSA assigned the 2021 Charger 5 stars overall, but it did lose a point on the front barrier crash test and one on the driver side barrier rating. Rollover received a full 5 stars. Also, the IIHS assigned the Charger "Good" marks on its tests. There are plenty of safety features that can be equipped, such as forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. The catch? They're all part of the optional Technology Group. They should be standard on at least the mid-tier trims and above.
What's the Interior Like?
Spaciousness abounds inside the cabin, unlike your traditional muscle car. But the thick roof pillars hinder your view out the back, and it is even hard to see out the front while rounding through lots of curves. Getting in and out of the rear is difficult due to the sloping roofline. But the seats are comfortable enough, and the Charger remains quiet until you get it up-to-speed on the highway.
What are the Alternatives to this Model?
The Kia Stinger is becoming strong competition for the Charger. It boasts an optional twin-turbo V6 that keeps pace with the mid-tier Chargers. It doesn't outpace the Charger's V8, but it does offer AWD. You also get a more generous warranty from Kia.
The Dodge Challenger is your closest alternative if you want a manual transmission and only two doors, echoing the traditional muscle car style. It has most of the same options but isn't as much of a daily-driver as the Charger.
Note: All Dodge Charger lease prices and dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.